Updated Defense Guidance
The sequester shows no signs of slowing down. The President issued the order to execute the 2011 Budget Control Act which outlines the sequester. Again, as the Department of Defense (and all federal agencies) are operating under a continuing resolution, guidance is pouring out from the various agencies and armed services. Specifically, the Secretary of Defense issued the following guidance:
- Major cutbacks to congressional delegation travel. Military aircraft restricted.
- Tuition assistance programs for service members and their families.
- Civilian bonuses
- Cuts to military entertainment and public affairs including air shows
- Shutting down a carrier air wing in April
- Deployment cancelled for six naval ships and several ships brought back to the US
Addtionally, unless changes are made, the Department of Defense will initiate civilian furloughs on April 26, 2013. The furloughs are for 22 days - though the end of fiscal year, September 2013. To be clear, for all federal agencies and the Department of Defense combined, more than a million people will be told to stay home one day every week. This means one million people will see one-fifth, or twenty percent, of their paychecks cut for the next five months. Imagine having to pay your mortage, bills, and other expenses with only 80% of what you bring home today.
On March 14th, the Department of Defense started to outline exceptions to who would be furloughed. These include:
- Fire, safety, and health positions
- Civilians deployed to combat zones
- Police and security guards on installations where manning levels are under 25%
- Medical staff who provide 24 hour emergency services
Additionally, based on Defense guidance, military resale (commissaries, military exchanges) have also provided updated guidance:
- Non-mission critical travel has been cancelled
- Most training is on the cutting block - specifically tuition assistance
- Hiring freezes
- Overtime and compensatory time have been cancelled
- Many annual conferences, internal and with industry, have been cancelled except those to maintain professional certifications
Absent the Republicans accepting tax increases and the Democrats accepting program cuts, the damage from the sequester will severely impact our service members and their families.
Joshua P. Frank is Principal and owner of RSM Federal, a federal consulting and business-acceleration strategy firm that represents small and large businesses in accelerating the education and processes necessary to win government contracts. For more information and videos about RSM Federal, please visit www.rsmfederal.com